When you construct an entire teleology on one cause—even a cause as powerful and abiding as white racism—you face the temptation to leave out anything that complicates the thesis.

drops mic


I lost a Facebook friend last night. No, that's wrong. I ejected him, forcefully, angrily, and with much cussing, over that fucking Quora post ("white privilege is like being tall! See, straw man, it's so simple even you can figure it out, you dixie-whistling, spittoon-hitting troglodyte! It's too bad you're an utter figment of our imaginations or we'd invite you to gather 'round for the backslap circlejerk!").

My point: "it's because you're white" is shorthand for "therefore, shut the fuck up." Much the way "it's racism, shut the fuck up" has become the Left's way of finding an easy way to process an event they can't handle, that hurt them, that they don't understand, that allows them to vilify and disassociate with "the other" - namely, that large portion of the country that voted against everything they hold dear.

The dumb thing is, it's not black people or minorities that post this shit. It's white people, telling other white people to shut the fuck up. "shhh! It's racism! It can only be racism! It's only white privilege and intersectionality and if you don't march in time you must be one of them! Burn the witch! Burn the witch!"

Thus I found myself in a position of being told to (figuratively - he was far too self-aware to literally) check my privilege by a white guy who grew up in Orange County and got a degree in Drama from USC who used to provide IT support for the University of Phoenix. A guy so white he gets typecast into playing idiotic southern police deputies. A guy who started out by agreeing that he was "very tall indeed."

"Those people who disagree with you? THEY'RE ALL RACISTS." Those people who voted the other way? All racists, every single one. And you? You're probably a racist, too, because you don't understand how "tall" you are. Fuckin' "first white president" and we've got a list of slave-owners in there.

I've noticed this post-election - the flight from complexity. The need to put a button on it so they can get on with grieving, so they can justify their seething rage against "those other people" that betrayed what they thought were our common dreams. Are there racists all over America? No doubt. Does racism drive far more than we're comfortable talking about? Indubitably. Is it the only fucking thing to talk about?

Go google-search "poverty by race in the United States." You'll see something like this:

Maan - them white folx are killin' it! Clearly it's all racism! Except then some egghead reminds you that they're called "minorities" for statistical, not pejorative reasons.

And because rich people have been fucking over poor people for as long as class has existed, and because there are plenty enough racists you can appeal to when you need numbers, you speak in coded language about "inner city youth" and other things that means "people what ain't white" and before you know it, minorities become a poker chip where both sides are using language like "white privilege" for virtue signaling good and bad and here are 41% of poor people, "scots irish" or "white trash" or "hillbillies" or "rednecks" and what they know?

They know that those minorities are being given an excuse for not thriving but they're "privileged."

And you can argue that they're privileged. But you sure as shit can't argue it to them from your comfy apartment provided by your liberal arts degree provided by your upper middle class upbringing provided by your family's long success sticking to the second bell curve.

What they know is that Trump doesn't hold them accountable for their oxycontin habit, their mortgage they can barely afford and their job that no longer provides benefits and is giving them carpal tunnel.

And every time you insist that somehow they have it easier than Barack Obama they listen to you less and less.

My landlord ran for Congress in 2016 as a Republican. He used to be a district manager at a broker. We talk politics, believe it or not - I goad him with my union status and he reminds me that he's got a union pension as a sheet metal worker.

You know what? He's never once told me I don't know what I'm talking about because I'm white. He's never tried to win an argument by invoking my "privilege." And although his mindset and philosophy are (overly) simple, they're based on merit, not on the idea that all white people are guilty.

My Republican landlord has some backwards notions about gender and opportunity but he's generally a good guy. On the other hand, I've already written two nastygrams to a Democratic PAC out of Portland that thinks anonymous slander campaigns are effective and appropriate.

And that's the thing that scares the shit out of me. If tribal politics are making my local Republicans look like the sane ones to me, the Democrats need to be worried.

posted by veen: 428 days ago